Bludgers were very heavy and were bewitched to follow players and hit them mid-air when they played the wizarding sport of Quidditch. Beaters also hit Bludgers toward opposing players to distract them from scoring points in the case of chasers, distracting saves in the case of the keeper, and catching the golden snitch in the case of seekers. While there were strict regulations and contingencies for the prevention of tampering with Bludgers mid-game, the house-elf Dobby was able to bewitch the Bludger in one of the games to attack Harry Potter alone. This is probably because there is very little foresight for such a situation ever occurring.
Before the standard bludgers were used in Quidditch, early bludgers were just rocks bewitched to chase players mid-air as the game progressed. However, this presented a major problem as most rocks would disintegrate at the force applied by the beater’s bat. These rocks, called blooders, would eventually turn into gravel and continue to chase the players, making it very difficult and inefficient. Eventually, the blooders were replaced by bludgers made of lead, which, although considered an improvement at first, turned out to be a mistake eventually. Since the beater’s bats were reinforced with spells and enchantments to make them durable enough to withstand heavy force, the lead bludgers would sustain dents over time and fly off-course, making them inefficient.
These dents also curved the trajectories of the bludgers, making them extremely unpredictable. Finally, all bludgers came to be made of solid iron for their durability. This part of history about how bludgers came to be, from lead to iron, was discovered by Agatha Chubb, an expert in ancient wizarding artifacts. She discovered around a dozen lead bludgers later found to be from the sixteenth century across Great Britain and Ireland, buried in an English peat bog and some marshes. Her research led to an understanding of how Quidditch and the bludger evolved over the years from being made out of lead to iron. It was also mentioned in the book Quidditch Through the Ages written by Kennilworthy Whisp and in the real-world book with the same name written by J. K. Rowling herself.
Bludger is probably an improvement on its older name blooder, the bewitched rocks that were used instead of the bludger ball to play Quidditch. Bludger could also be influenced by the word bludgeon, which means to hurt someone very badly. The noun form of bludgeon also refers to a club or stick, which is probably where the verb comes from.
Bludgers and Quidditch
A bludger used in modern Quidditch has a ten-inch diameter and is a heavy black iron ball bewitched to chase players mid-game when they fly. Two bludgers are used in every game of Quidditch. In Quidditch, there are two other balls – the Quaffle and the Golden Snitch. While the chasers take the Quaffle towards the goal hoops, the beater’s job is to make sure that their teammates are not attacked by bludgers and to focus on beating the bludgers toward members of the opponent Quidditch team, especially the opposing chaser who is in possession of the Quaffle. The seekers are assigned the task of catching the Golden Snitch.
There are several fouls that can be committed in Quidditch, including Snitchnip, which is when some player other than the seeker tries to catch or touches the Snitch. The referee is a very useful member to be present because players can sometimes get very rash with bludgers and beating bats.
Appearances of Bludgers in the Harry Potter Universe
Bludgers first appeared in the Harry Potter books when Oliver Wood got the entire Quidditch set to the field to show Harry how Quidditch worked and to explain the rules of the game. Wood started with the Quaffle, then moved on to the Bludgers and the Golden Snitch.
In the first match that Gryffindor played against Slytherin in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry was almost attacked by a bludger, and some of the Gryffindor players were attacked by a bludger too. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby bewitches a bludger to only attack Harry as he wants Harry to be safe at home. Despite Fred and George Weasley protecting Harry from the bludger by surrounding him, eventually, when Harry catches the Snitch, the average speed of the rogue bludger matches Harry’s deceleration, and Harry gets knocked off his Nimbus 2000. Harry’s arm is badly hurt, and Gilderoy Lockhart makes it worse by chanting a strange spell.
In later books, too, Bludgers make regular appearances in every Quidditch game.
Dodgeball in the Air
The rules of most games can usually be subsets of other games as there are instances of some games being inspired by or derived from others. For example, games like Hockey, Soccer, and Handball are similar yet different in small details.
While Quidditch is a unique game in its own right played by witches and wizards, it is interesting to see that the bludgers are used for a specific purpose, and this subset of the game can be rephrased as ‘dodgeball in the air.’ Dodgeball is a game where players have to dodge balls thrown at them with force.
The beaters’ task is the same as the people throwing the dodgeballs, and the opponent players who have to escape the bludgers play the role of the ones dodging the ball. This is an interesting intersection between the rules of the muggle game of dodgeball and the magical game of Quidditch.
What spell did Hermione use on the rogue bludger?
Hermione used the spell Finite Incantatem to make the rogue bludger stop attacking Harry. The bludger had already attacked Harry once, causing him to be knocked off his broom but continued to try to hurt him. Therefore, Hermione used the spell-blocking curse to prevent the magic of whoever was bewitching the bludger from stopping. It is later found out that it was Dobby, the house-elf, who was tampering with the bludger as he was concerned for Harry’s safety and wanted to hurt Harry enough to send him home, away from Hogwarts.
Can you hit bludger at a player?
Yes, the sole purpose of bludgers is for them to be hit at players of opponent teams to knock them off their brooms. However, there are strict rules for who can hit bludgers at whom. Bludgers can be hit at anyone, although it is only useful when hit at the players of the opponent teams to distract them or knock them off their brooms. Bludgers must only be hit by beaters as that is their only function in the Quidditch match other than protecting their teammates from oncoming bludgers. Also, bludgers should not be touched with anything else except the beater’s bat.
How did Harry lose the bones in his arm?
After being severely injured with a fractured bone in his arm, Harry was in a lot of pain. Despite having caught the snitch, he was attacked by a rogue bludger immediately after that, which caused the fracture. However, before he was considered to be taken to the hospital wing, Gilderoy Lockhart decided to showcase his ‘abilities’. Sadly, instead of curing the fracture, he just made the bones in Harry’s hands disappear. Madam Pomfrey was displeased with this careless choice of Professor Lockhart because it was a very painful process to regrow bones, and Harry had to stay in the hospital for the whole night.